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Tesla says Model S to retain 5-star rating amid NHTSA safety review

Tesla has begun offering the Model S in China. However, a trademark dispute is preventing the automaker from using the Tesla name there.

LOS ANGELES (Bloomberg) -- Tesla Motors Inc., the electric-car maker being reviewed by U.S. regulators over battery-related fires, said the safety rating for its Model S sedan is reaffirmed for 2014.

The flagship vehicle from the company, with a $70,000 base price, retains a 5-star rating for crashworthiness, the highest designation given by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The agency opened a review of the car last month after fires in Tennessee and Washington state occurred when drivers struck metal debris.

"While Tesla is awaiting feedback from NHTSA regarding their investigation of recent fire incidents, the German Federal Motor Transport Authority, Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt, recently concluded its review of the incidents, finding no manufacturer-related defects or need for further action," Tesla said Monday in an e-mailed statement.

Shares of Tesla have plunged 26 percent from a record high closing price of $193.37 on Sept. 30 after the battery-related fire reports.

A third fire occurred in Mexico when a driver hit a concrete barrier at high speed.

There have been no reported injuries resulting from any of the collisions. NHTSA hasn't said when its review will be completed.

Tesla shares rose 0.2 percent to $143.55 at the close in New York trading on Monday. The shares have soared more than fourfold this year.

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